There are few guarantees in recruiting, but one thing's for certain: a highlight video will help an athlete attract attention from coaches, especially if he or she hasn't been garnering much interest.
Coaches receive hundreds of highlight tapes, so it's important to keep the video brief, yet attention-grabbing.
Common mistakes: lack of video content or no video at all. Start by recruiting a family member or friend to shoot video during games. The earlier you start gathering film during your high school career, the more options you'll have when the time comes to create a reel.
When filming a game, the cameraman needs a clear and unobstructed view of the entire field or court in order to insure high quality footage. It's unnecessary to set up behind the end zone, but shooting through a chain-link fence is not a good idea. The video should be nice and steady. Do not zoom in directly on the athlete. Make sure to capture each play in its entirety. Record everything.
The highlight video is the trailer to an athlete's game tape. If a coach likes your highlights, he will be more likely to follow up with a request for full game film.
Avoid the suspenseful build-up. Start with a brief introduction stating all your vitals: name, age, school, position height, weight and contact information. Then cut to the highlights. Keep the video under five minutes long. Most coaches will make an evaluation within the first minute. Feature your best plays right off the bat, but also include a variety of plays that illustrate technical skills specific to your position. Teammate and coach interaction never hurts, either
For the game tape, it's important to display a variety of footage: home and away, rain and sun, win and lose. "The problem for coaches when watching film is you don't know how good the competition is," says Bill Conley, former football recruiting coordinator for The Ohio State University. "You especially don't know the speed of the competition, and you don't know the field conditions." A diverse reel will help a coach make a more informed decision.
Some game film will be low quality, grainy, occasionally out of focus—which makes it imperative for the athlete to identify himself on screen each and every play, either with a spot shadow, flash or arrow. Entry-level video editing software, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, enables users to add these effects. Simply freeze the shot before the play starts, and use the mark to identify yourself. Proceed with the action and roll film until the play ends. For continuous play sports, simply pause the video in the middle of the action and make the identification before the ensuing play.
Once the reel is ready, contact your target schools and verify to whom and where the tape should be delivered. Contact the recipients and inform them of the impending delivery, then follow up within two weeks to confirm that it was received.
Click on the following links to learn more about compiling and sending highlight tapes:
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